Richard Snow's Analyst Perspectives

Three Tools to Boost Omnichannel Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Nov 17, 2015 2:07:57 PM

Much is written about omnichannel customer experience, and various software vendors now claim to focus on the customer experience. With various degrees of credibility they range from providers of communication channel management to workforce optimization, voice of the customer, self-service, analytics and even CRM. This bandwagon raises the question of what  omnichannel customer experience really is and how companies can achieve it. Our benchmark research into next-generation customer engagement shows that consumers now engage with companies through as many as 17 channels of engagement though companies on average support six. The research also shows that every business group, with the exception of IT, engages with prospects and customers at different times during the customer life cycle. Customers today, we know, are more demanding than ever. They want to choose the channel and time of engagement. They want the process to be easy, and they want to be recognized so responses can be personal to them. They expect consistent responses regardless of channel and not to have to repeat actions if they change channels. They want agents empowered to resolve an issue at the first try. Finally, at the end of the interaction they want to feel good about how it went and the outcome.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, omnichannel

Subscriber Experience Impacts Recurring Revenue

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 8, 2015 11:19:15 AM

The digital economy has changed the way many companies provide products. Some no longer deliver packaged products but provide them as services over a network, typically the Internet. Telecommunications providers in particular are familiar with this business model and have developed processes and systems that use innovations such as product bundles that include elements of fixed charges (such as cost of installation) and variable charges based on usage (such as the number of calls made) and means of registering customers on the network, collecting usage data, invoicing and collections. This model has been adopted increasingly by the software industry, replacing a single license fee and maintenance charges for on-premises products with software as a service in which users access products over the Internet and pay per user and/or for usage. Adoption of this model by other types of business has led them to think of customers as subscribers.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience Management, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), omnichannel

Insights from Dreamforce ‘15 Exceeds Expectations

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 17, 2015 1:11:38 AM

I recently attended my first U.S. Dreamforce, the annual salesforce.com event designed to showcase its products and services as well as those of its partners, and I was impressed. I was told that Dreamforce ‘15 would be big, and it was – just about every hotel, restaurant, meeting room in San Francisco seemed to have been taken over for the week, and still the company had to bring in a cruise ship to accommodate people and events. I was told it would be manic, and it was – more than 100,000 attendees, and buses and cabs blocking surrounding streets. I was told it would be busy, and it was – more than 600 conference sessions.  I was told it would educational, and it was – I gained many insights into new product developments, both from salesforce and several of its partners. Here are some of the key takeaways for my research practice.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Mobile Technology, Speech Analytics, Wearable Computing, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, omnichannel

Oracle Customer Experience in the Cloud

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 14, 2014 9:16:59 AM

Oracle has a large and diverse set of products and now has most of its business applications operating in the private and public cloud. However, some recent acquisitions have enabled it to focus on cloud-based-products for managing the customer experience. Our next generation customer engagement research has found that customer experience is the top impetus for improving customer engagement as found by almost three quarters (74%) of organizations. Oracle has created a customer experience suite that includes marketing, commerce, service, sales, CPQ and social cloud. In particular the acquisition of RightNow has become the foundation of Oracle Service Cloud.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Mobile apps, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

New Generation of Recurring Revenue and Billing Inspired from Cloud Computing

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 22, 2014 10:59:07 PM

Much has been written about how cloud computing changes the way businesses source their software and services. For software companies, instead of being installed inside the company, software like business applications run on a computer installed at an external site. If the external site is not shared with any other business, this is called a private cloud; if it is owned and operated by a third party and supports more than one business, it is called a public cloud. In the case of public clouds, users access the applications via the Internet, and increasing they can do this while out of the office, using laptops or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The main advantages of this model are that companies don’t need to invest in hardware or support staff to install and maintain hardware or software like these applications, the vendor handles system updates and users can work anywhere (including on the move) by logging in through a Web browser or an application designed specifically for mobile technology. Our research confirms that the overall importance is overall important in more than half (57%) of organizations.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

OpenSpan Makes Smart Agent Desktop Simpler

Posted by Richard Snow on May 3, 2014 11:55:58 PM

My benchmark research into the smart agent desktop finds that in nearly two-thirds (65%) of companies, contact center agents have to access multiple systems as they try to resolve customer interactions. These range from channel management systems (such as telephone, email, text messages and social media) to business applications (such as CRM, ERP and knowledge management), performance dashboards and analysis, and messaging systems. Having to use all these systems leads agents to make mistakes, increases average handling times, produces data errors and reduces satisfaction for both agents and customers. The last two are especially important because the research shows that very satisfied agents twice as often as less satisfied ones meet important customer-related metrics such as customer satisfaction, net promoter and customer effort scores, and satisfied customers are likely to remain loyal, buy more and recommend the company to people they know. A smart agent desktop can alleviate these issues by making it easier for agents to access systems, navigate between them, enter data and view important information.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Mobile apps, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Force Optimization

Customer Engagement in 2014: Agenda for Delivering Best Customer Experience

Posted by Richard Snow on Jan 15, 2014 9:54:16 AM

In 2013 we continued to see change in the contact center, customer service and customer experience markets: Consumers’ communication habits continued to evolve, more business units outside the traditional contact center became involved in handling interactions, software vendors continued to come up with new technologies, and cloud computing, mobility, big data, collaboration, social media and analytics all had a big impact on the ways users access and consume software. Many of these trends surfaced in my benchmark research on next-generation workforce optimization and next-generation customer engagement. Overall my research shows that organizations are slowly maturing in terms of the people, processes, information and technology they use to support customer engagement and related customer-facing activities. However, it also shows that many of the old issues have not gone away and that companies still have work to do to meet customer expectations and achieve their business goals.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Force Optimization

Aria Makes Billing Simple for Recurring Revenue

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 18, 2013 10:48:12 AM

I have written lately about how digital customers change customer engagement. It’s no surprise that at the heart of this change, as well as many others that impact business, is the Internet. Along with smart mobile devices, the Internet has changed the ways consumers engage with each other and businesses. In buying products and services, digital customers prefer to research them on the Internet, then buy online or at a store. They expect all activities to happen fast, perhaps in real time. Online commerce has helped support this business model for many companies but has not been as nimble to meet the subscription and billing demands needed today. If not, the Internet provides ways of helping customers express their opinions and feelings often and immediately. To adapt to this business will have to be able to support new methods of selling products and services to the market and support the rapid subscription and billing needs to capture revenue potential at any time of the day.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social CRM, Self-service, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Companies Struggle to Engage with Customers Digitally

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 11, 2013 8:45:32 AM

If you stop to compare communication preferences of the past to those of today, you can’t fail to notice some major changes, especially in younger generations. Talking on the phone – fixed or mobile – is in decline, as many people now prefer text messaging, chat and social media. We rely on the Internet to search for websites, run mobile apps and use social media. We watch less TV in real time, preferring to watch what we want, when we want to watch it and to skip advertisements. The same applies to newspapers, with many people preferring to have the news they want to see downloaded to their smart devices. Today, any email from someone we don’t know goes straight to the junk mail folder, and writing seems to be becoming a lost art. This is the world of the digital customer. Companies have to support digital customers while continuing to support others who still make phone calls, send email and even write letters. According to my research into next-generation customer engagement, most companies are not yet prepared to meet the expectations of digital customers.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Speech Analytics, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Text Analytics

Failure in Agent Workforce Optimization Adoption Plagues Customer Interaction

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 5, 2013 7:39:39 AM

Ventana Research defines workforce optimization as a set of processes and technology for customer agents that include interaction (call) recording, quality monitoring, workforce management, training and coaching, compensation management and analytics. My benchmark research into next-generation workforce optimization set out to discover the people, processes, information and systems companies are using to get more from their customer service agents, the benefits they have gained, their plans to change and the barriers holding back those changes. Our research projects apply the Ventana Research Maturity Model™ to evaluate the maturity of organizations in a given market or with respect to a business or IT process. In this case our analysis shows that based on current practices nearly half of companies are at the lowest Tactical level of maturity and only 13 percent have reached the highest Innovative level. Closer examination of the results shows that companies are least mature in their use of technology for workforce optimization, with half at the Tactical level. Much has changed in the way companies handle customer interactions. Two of the biggest changes I have seen in various research are that companies now support more channels of communication and more employees around the organization are involved in handling interactions, meaning companies need to review their workforce optimization systems and begin to take advantage of these advances. Yet the research shows that most of them aren’t yet doing that.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), workforce optimization